Quest for childhood 

(Memories of a small-town boy in the Sixties in India)




In a magical town, between

rivers crisscrossed

I remember a face,

a monsoon cloud

waiting for it’s call to rain





On a full moon night

who draws those blue curtains

a grasshopper alas had waited

its lifetime, and now it

must die in darkness




When it rained on tin tops

our stories started

a barren field, stars twinkling

and a gallop in my dreams

tuk-tuk, tuk-tuk, tuk-tuk




She stood by the town-temple

watching pedestrians

her red vermilion defying

virginity, amongst saintly





A Koel must sing, for

monsoon has been declared

in small towns and

it’s people have opened windows

for a bird’s whistle




At last a child came

panting huffing and in great haste

‘has a blue train just left?’

and we nodded in unison

pointing to a far far distance




An old man sat

crumbled on a cane chair, watching

two mynas chirp at children

playing gleefully with dead snails

on unfinished roads




She asked the most innocent

question ‘ when does it rain,

is it when a woman is bound for

hell, or heaven? ‘

a few men laughed again and again




The rhythm of hooves and pebbles

splattered, a small town knows

what time of the day it is

for there is an accompanying






You must know a librarian and

a physician, a priest and

a beggar in a small town

the rest comes as neighbors

-a policeman and a lawyer


Raj Shankar Ghosh


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